Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Welcome to Your Mid-Thirties

OMG, look what I found during my weekend-o-organizing!!  That would be the very first picture ever taken of the two of us together, circa October 1996.  We are babies!!!  I showed it to Annie and Jemma, and they seemed . . . uncomfortable with it.  I think they wanted to ask why my face is so fat, but they sensed it would be impolite.  It's on my nightstand just now, and it inspired this letter to my younger self:

Dear 19-year-old Stephanie,

Look at you, with your freshman fifteen and your Rum Raisin lipstick and your black-with-white mid-nineties dress (with matching shoes you borrowed from Carrie), on your way to the Cosmo Fall Informal at Alpen Rose restaurant.  Little do you know that you will indeed marry this person next to you.  And little do you know how your life will be different fifteen years later.

Turning thirty didn't bother you too much.  You were more focused on celebrating Annie's third birthday, and you spent most of the day carrying a baby Jemma around on your hip.  You drank a few martinis and served a billion cupcakes up in the front yard, and that was that.  You didn't stress about getting old.

A few years later, though, at age thirty-three, things seem to be taking a turn towards what you can only assume is Middle Age.  For example, you will have this conversation at the gym:

S:  "My back has been out for a month, and I keep going to the chiropractor and to my GP and doing all these exercises and taking ibuprofen, but nothing is working."

E:  "My neck went out this week and it was so bad I didn't sleep a second the first night.  I can't pick up my kid, and I'm starting physical therapy tomorrow."

Me:  "I can't believe we're having this conversation.  Are we 80?"

You will get a phone call from a nice lady at the bank.  She'll be confused, because you have never been late with your mortgage before, but they haven't gotten your January payment.  You're confused, too, because you look in the checkbook and you can see the carbon of the check that you wrote and sent on December 27th.  The nice lady looks a little deeper, says, "Hmmm.  What I'm showing is that we received something from you on December 19th, but that the payment wasn't made.  Could you have put a stop-payment on the check?  Did you close that account?"

And you'll say, no, neither of those things, and you'll think about how you pay the bills all at once and what the table looks like when you do and you'll say, "I think what happened is I sent you an empty envelope."

You will plan to to running at the gym on a Saturday morning with a friend.  When the friend picks you up, she's wearing her boots since it's a snowy day, and it's only when you are within sight of the gym that she realizes that she has left her running shoes in the mudroom of her house.

This same friend will, two years into the same preschool schedule, one day randomly believe that she needs to be back at school to pick up her son at 1:00 when in reality the pick-up time is (and has always been, lo these two whole years) 12:45.

You will have a two-hour phone conversation with a friend about how technology is leaving you behind, how you have heard of Tumblr but you don't really know what it IS; how you feel like you should probably be on Twitter, how not being on it is probably going to make you look old and cost you a job when you try to re-enter the workforce for real, but how you can't get behind something that has the word "twit" in part of its name, and how she can't bear to ever utter the phrase, "Did you see my tweet?"

You break down a buy a pair of skinny jeans, but you make your friend come over to look at your butt in them, analyze if they are too tight in the thighs, worry that you are trying to act too young and trendy.  You wear them, but you keep yanking down your top a little farther the whole time.

You debate the merits of Botox.

You have a weekend alone, and you spend it organizing kids' clothes into Rubbermaid bins and sorting recipes into a file.

You start saying all the things that your mother used to say to you, including "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all," which has absolutely zero effect on the bickering.

The high point of your week will be a new episode of Modern Family, because you are Claire.

So, nineteen-year-old self, enjoy those boobs being up where they belong!  Enjoy that hair in all of its non-chemically-altered blondness!  Enjoy an evening of dancing and drinking and talking about things other than ballet shoe sizes and swimming lesson instructors!  Cause fifteen years from now, you're going to have no clue, no boobs, and no memory.

33-year-old Stephanie


  1. Admitting that you are Claire is the 1st step!
    Love, Mike

  2. Love, love, love this post. Speaking of losing memory, I keep meaning to comment on your blog post about what you might write someday...I vote a memoir, collection of essays, or nonfiction work about motherhood. You already have SO much amazing material for it.

  3. This post has so many good things going on, I don't even know where to start.

    33? Try 35. It looked like a mistake the first time I typed that that was my age.

    Weird back and neck aches = check.

    Debating Botox (and knowing peers who have had it) = check.

    Forgetting what I walked into a room to get or do = check.

    Not being on Twitter = check.

    And I totally remember that informal!